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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Guidance and counselling in early childhood and school education


12.Educational support and guidance

12.4Guidance and counselling in early childhood and school education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Academic guidance

There are no formal special institutions for guidance in Sweden. All educational and vocational guidance is given within the schools. It is the responsibility of the school head to ensure that all pupils receive educational and vocational guidance in preparation for choosing the continuation of their educational route. Career education and guidance are provided in the classroom and in various forms of guidance counselling, in conjunction with the general information. It is also common that pupils undergo so called ‘work practice’ at different work places a couple of weeks towards the end of their compulsory schooling.

Most schools have specially trained career and guidance counsellors (studie- och yrkesvägledare). Although career education and guidance is the responsibility of all school personnel, the career and guidance counsellors have specialist knowledge that plays a central role in career education and guidance. In order to be employed as a career counsellor in the public school system the applicant must have an education that is intended for such work. Career and guidance counsellor education is offered at Higher Education Institutions and lasts for three years.

The curriculum for the upper secondary school states that the school should cooperate with working life and Higher Education Institutions, employment exchange offices, the industry as well as the labor market partners and industrial representative organisations thus have important roles in providing information to pupils. The school shall strive to ensure that each pupil can make reasoned choices regarding further studies and vocational orientation and that they become familiar with the conditions of working life, especially within their study area. Educational and vocational guidance is generally given within the schools. It is the responsibility of the school head to ensure that all pupils receive educational and vocational guidance.


Career guidance

Working life outside of the school so that students receive a good qualitative education and are prepared for a vocation and further education. The Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket) has presented general guidelines on career education and guidance for both the compulsory and the upper secondary school. The general guidelines state that it is important that:

  • The student has the opportunity to meet adult professionals and confront various tasks that exist in the working world.
  • The school invites representatives of working life who can give the students important knowledge and experience to bear in mind when they make their educational and vocational decisions.
  • The school organises career education and guidance so that students with functional disabilities receive experience from working life.
  • The education contributes to the development of the students' knowledge of working life and makes use of the students' experiences,
  • The students' work experience is planned, followed up and related to teaching and guidance.
  • The teaching gives a comprehensive picture of working life.

Career guidance officers in special needs schools for pupils with impaired hearing (specialskola) give educational and vocational guidance. Part of their duties is to help obtain places for working life orientation and suitable employment/youth training placements for pupils in their final year.

In education for pupils with severe intellectual impairments (grundsärskola) years, 9 and 10 are devoted to educational and vocational guidance to prepare pupils for further studies at the upper secondary level and to familiarise them with working life. Pupils studying vocational subjects get at least 22 weeks of workplace training. The school option hours may also be used for practical working life orientation.

The Education Act (Skollagen, 2010:800)

The National Agency for Special Needs Education and Schools (Specialpedagogiska skolmyndigheten)


Psychological counselling

According to the Education Act all pupils in a preschool class, compulsory school, upper secondary school, sami school, within the education for pupils with severe intellectual impairments (grundsärskolan and gymnasiesärskola) and within education for pupils in special needs schools (specialskola) should have access to student health. The student health should provide help regarding medical, psychological, psycho-social and special pedagogical needs. The student health should mostly focus on preventive health work. Access to doctor, nurse, psychologist, and counsellor (kurator) should be given to all pupils. The children's health centre (barnavårdscentralen, BVC) is responsible for preschool children.